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Mr Love & Justice
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Top Customer Reviews
"Mr Love & Justice" starts off rather well. "I Keep Faith" is not particularly arresting for anything on initial appearance but it does eventually charm you with a soulful lightness of touch and the sweet sound of Robert Wyatt's backing vocals. This stands up there with some of his finest.
Elsewhere highlights are "Sing Their Souls Back Home" which by rights could make you cringe but it somehow doesn't. "The Johnny Carcinogenic Show" works rather well tackling the calorific golden arches. "O Freedom" is Bragg at his most incisive.
However elsewhere things are either a little bland or have a wall of ugly guitar over them. The Blokes as a backing band seem to have lost their deftness and seem to clunk about like a drunk Crazy Horse.
"I Almost Killed You" passes by forgettably. The title track sounds like we've been here before. "Farm Boy" doesn't do much one way or the other.
The solo take on the songs does bring out more interest and some of the bear up well under this treatment.
Perhaps it's all a bit unfair. Life does change and you couldn't maybe expect a "Levi Stubbs Tears".
But there is a bit of blandness knocking around in the over. So whither Billy Bragg? This is not an overly arresting album but it is not without its charm.Read more ›
Yes the Deluxe Edition version of Mr. Love & Justice comes with two discs - the band version recorded with Billy's group The Blokes and a solo rendition of the same songs with Billy on vocals and crunchy electric guitar. Recorded after the band versions, the solo recordings will delight those from Billy's fanbase who still hanker for his one-man-and-a-guitar assault on the World in the 80s. They also of course beg the question as to which version of Bragg is best. My reply is that both the band and solo versions of the songs are worthy on this excellent album.
Not that the solo recordings are necessarily quieter than the full versions with this artist of course. Take the second song I Almost Killed You - the band version has a campfire feel whereas the solo take has loud, punky guitar like it's 1984 all over again. Both versions are excellent. Among the other highlights for me are the literal wordplay of M For Me, highly political O Freedom and Something Happened which dissects the difference between love and lust in two sentences over some of the grungiest guitar ever laid down on a Billy Bragg record.
Musically the key influences on Mr. Love & Justice are classic soul, folk and country rather than the mix of World music to celebrate multicultural Britain and rather less inspiring pub-rock on England Half English.Read more ›
The stand-out track on the album is `I Keep Faith', superbly backed by Robert Wyatt. The band gel far better here than on English, Half English.
This is Bragg's best since 1991's Don't Try This At Home.
The album opens with taster single `I Keep Faith' which is the most polished song on the album and kicks things off nicely. `I Almost Killed You' suffers from the World Music arrangement and percussion but the lyric is it's saving grace. Next up `M for Me' is again lyrically inspired and has a beautiful brass driven arrangement which compliments it.
`The Beach is Free' is wonderfully rockabilly sprint which leads perfectly on to ex-trooper Bragg's take on the second gulf war, `Sing Their Souls Back Home'. `You Make Me Brave' feels like Bragg circa `Don't Try This at Home'. `Something Happened' struggles to make an impact on this record being shoehorned between two songs which are superior in tone and arrangement.
The title song, which doesn't allude to the Colin MacInnes novel of the same title, sits uncomfortably with Bragg's admiration for Woody Guthrie with its `desertion should mean disgrace' message to absentee fathers. `If You Ever Leave' is Bragg possibly as far away from the songs of teenage angst of his early career but it still resonates more than anything Brian Adams and co have ever had at number one.
`O Freedom' is reminiscent of Bragg's `The Internationale' album and gives the listener a sense of familiarity which it then snatches away with `The Johnny Carcinogenic Show' with its brilliant anti-smoking industry message.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Billy has mellowed a little over the years. His songs are more about love than struggle now but don't be fooled into thinking all the fire is gone. Read morePublished on 28 Nov. 2013 by M. Broom
This is one of those albums that I wasnt sure about when I first listened to it but the quality grows on you and now I think the whole album is excellent. Read morePublished on 28 Mar. 2010 by Kev and Jen
Bought after attending a live concert in Wales. Good without being exceptional. Title track not my choice, but Billy Bragg always has great lyrics and good to great music. Read morePublished on 17 July 2009 by A. J. Whittick
At last, Bragg is back! with his first album in 6 years "Mr Love & Justice". Far from going stale with age, this English songwriter just keeps getting better! Read morePublished on 31 Mar. 2009 by N. Surry
A good recent addition to a Billy Bragg collection. Not all the melodies are as strong as some of his best stuff but still a number of pleasing tracks from the Braggmeister.Published on 4 Feb. 2009 by Mr. M. G. Watson
what a great CD. Some great tracks with the identifying guitar sounds and then some. I loved the keep faith track. Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2008 by zoe
I haven't got a lot to say other than this CD with the solo version is worth a lot more than the asking price. Grows on you as well.Published on 16 May 2008 by Marling